We got home from San Francisco* last night, threw our bags next to a pre-existing pile of laundry and cleared the sink of our five-day-old-dishes, then fell face-first into an unmade bed. Why? Because work/life balance is ROUGH STUFF, and in the toss-up between fam, friends, and a psychotic attention to household chores, I imagine you're in the same canoe when it comes to wanting to spend yr downtime squarely on the first two options (with Netflix bumping the third almost totally out of contention). That said, namaste would NOT exist without at least mild attention to keeping house, and since I'm a fan of carefully choosing one's battles, I try not to sweat it too hard when all I can get to is what constitutes my own personal bare minimum:
: Whether it's the stuff you reach for when running out the door or the little things you find yourself using a hundred and ten times a day (read: scissors, pens, BOBBY PINS), having a specific H O M E for all that stuff pays in dividends. Apartment Therapy waxes poetic about having a "landing strip
" in your entry; our version – for keys, spare phone chargers, and sunglasses – involves a macramé plant hanger and a branch + hook situation
, and it makes life way easier when I'm late and trying to bounce. Same goes for your little necessities: I use my camera cord at least once a day, and making sure it ends up back in its drawer takes all of two seconds, and has probably avoided a million combined hours of time spent frantically searching. The big takeaway, here? Put your stuff away when you're done using it. Boom.
: ^^^ another benefit to a place for everything/everything in its place? It cuts down on those random piles of bills and mags and receipts that tend to happen when you've got a million things going on. It's the ephemeral stuff that causes the most trouble – YES, you will get to the July issue of Teen Vogue eventually, but then it's headed for the recycling bin, not your bookshelf. The best way to avoid visual clutter is to CONTAIN and CONSOLIDATE, without letting your surfaces become stack city – we keep a pretty wooden bowl for mail, and when it's full, it's time to tackle it. Magazines go in a vintage brass holder, but once it hits capacity I make time for an hour-or-so of flipping through them on the couch. Really, the trick is to find "halfway houses" for all the stuff that comes in just to go out (and ideally those houses fit in with the rest of your decor scheme).
IDENTIFY YOUR ONE-WAY TICKET TO CRAZYTOWN...
and avoid it at ALL costs. I feel like my universe is spiraling out of control when the couch cushions look jacked, and coming downstairs in the morning to the previous night's wineglasses or napkins on the table is just about the worst way I can start my day. One of the most valuable things I've ever read, re: home maintenance, was the advice to take ten minutes to re-set a room when you leave it – and if you've only got ninety seconds, apply them to what's going to save your sanity.
GO EASY ON YOURSELF.
If you're one of those people for whom scrubbing a bathroom brings Z E N, you're lucky. The inside of our refrigerator may not always gleam, but our record collection is impeccably alphabetized and I keep a MEAN + CLEAN stair-rail, you guys. When I start feeling bad about the state of my apartment I'll try to turn my brain in THAT direction and just start where I can, with the stuff that I don't mind doing. You'll get to the rest of it eventually (and you might even find yourself on a roll).
AND WHEN IT ALL FEELS WILDLY OUT OF CONTROL
: Pick a date and throw a dinner party. There's no greater impetus to get your effects IN ORDER than the threat of someone else laying eyes on your CRAZY – I refer to it as shame-cleaning, and it is wildly, wildly effective.
*SAN FRANCISCO! stoked to share photos, etc next week – I could not have had a better time.
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Labels: home, how do you do